Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inspired by the Sea...

Summer, long days filled with bright light, seashells, sandy beaches and sunsets that seem to last forever. The sea has been inspiring fabric designers for centuries. The colors of the ocean, pale blues to turquoise and deep marine blues all are quiet relaxing and lovely. Shapes of shells, seaweed, rolled stones and beach glass make
for very interesting textures and shapes.
This color palette drawn

from the Sea is filled with exciting color splashes. Seaweed Green, Stone Grey, Beachy Taupe (light or dark) Coral Red, Conch Shell Pink, or the subtle Green and Creme of a Sea Urchin. The list is long and the possibilities are endless.
At Mary Jo's Cloth we have fabric that is inspired by this rich and colorful Ocean Environment. Drapery and Upholstery choices are available in a wide range of choices. One of my favorite collections is the historic looking etched style that has patterns of Seaweed, Shells and Coral. These patterns are simple and classic and are available in many shades of Taupe, Dark and Light Corals, Rich Brown, Sea-foam and Dune Grass Greens. These are classic, timeless choices which will allow for many years of use without getting bored. These are terrific choices for Chair-pads, Slipcovers, Pillows, Table-cloths, Curtains or Roman Shades. The patterns are wonderful mixed with solids and striped fabrics. This collection is available in heavy weight cottons and canvas style fabrics or medium to light polished cottons. "Classic Sea" is always an elegant yet natural pairing that is a foolproof.
Click on the arrow below to view the slideshow...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rickrack and Ribbon...

One of my personal pleasures is walking through the Ribbon & Rickrack section at Mary Jo's Cloth Store. It is always a place to discover new colors, textures and design possibilities. With school starting it made me start to think about the shirts, skirts and blouses that have Ribbon and Rickrack embellishments. I also use these little beauties to tie together a flower arrangement, pretty up a package or

tie onto the handle of my scissors so I can easily hang them on a hook or knob. It is also fun to sew onto a tote or even a cloth purse, really nothing is safe! Ribbons made from fine satins, silks and cotton are always an inspiration, the color palette is endless. Take some time to noodle around on the internet, you will be inspired. Then take an afternoon and pop by the store to load up, the prices are great and the selection is divine.

Plain rickrack usually is made from a single color, and it has a dull or matte finish. Rickrack can also be made metallic, glossy, or variegated with strips or gradations of color.When I was a girl I remember that Rickrack was all the rage. Different thickness sewn onto shirt collars and cuffs were not only ultra chic but fun to wear. The colors were always bright and cheerful, ironing was the only draw-back. I used to sew them onto tote bags and doll clothes as well. It is a simple to stitch and it is always to great effect. I was on a cool blog recently, Knick Knacks & Ric Rac Hannah is a very inventive gal, she created really cool "Rickrack Dahlias" the instructions are on her blog!

Have fun with ribbon and rickrack, stop by the store and check it out. Remember we have many fine notions available online at

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quilt Shows and Mary Jo's...

I was flipping through a Home Design Magazine the other day and was very intrigued by an article featuring two different museums with amazing Quilt Exhibitions. One in Vermont the other in Washington D.C. The best part is even if you can't make it in person you can view portions online and be inspired by museum quality examples of truly fantastic quilts. Remember we have beautiful quilting fabric in the store and online. Amazing quality at affordable prices, check it out today at .

The Textile Museum in Washington D.C. is featuring a wonderful Exhibit.
Constructed Color: Amish Quilts. Thru September 6, 2009
Amish quilts are among the most striking and famous of all American quilt types. Renowned for their play of color and strong geometric patterns, their similarities to modern art have been noted ever since the 1971 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York entitled Abstract Design in American Quilts. The parallels are perhaps most striking with regard to color field paintings and art that explores the manipulation of visual effect.

This exhibition, on loan from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, features 29 examples from the center’s highly regarded collection. The quilts represent three specific regional groups, each with its own distinctive features, drawn from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, from Midwestern communities and from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Each of these Amish communities produces unique quilts that reflect the availability of materials, influences from non-Amish neighbors, and the relative conservatism of individual communities as determined by their Ordnung, or community guidelines. The objects which will be on view in the exhibition represent some of the finest Amish quilts in the world."

The Shelburne Museum in Vermont is featuring an incredible collection of quilts designed and made by Florence Cowdin Peto (1880-1970) the exhibit runs through October 25, 2009.

“Florence was an influential collector and quiltmaker who worked tirelessly to bring attention to quilts as an important and integral part of our heritage,” said Curator Jean Burks, who is organizing Piecing Together the Past. “Her goal was to show that this true form of folk art was as historically meaningful as the written word.” Peto’s influence extended to Shelburne Museum, when in the 1950’s, she actively encouraged Museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb to include quilts as an essential part of the Museum’s collection.

"Piecing Together the Past" brings together ten Peto quilts on loan from a direct descendant, exhibiting them as a group for the first time. The exhibit also includes a selection of eight historic examples Peto collected that were acquired specifically for Shelburne Museum.

During the 1940s and ‘50s Peto designed and created an amazing body of quilt work using her extensive collection of Centennial and traditional fabrics. She developed a distinctive style using antique copperplate and roller-printed calicoes, chintzes and toiles over a homespun background. Her artistic technique is distinguished by signature floral vine appliqué borders, elaborate broderie perse work and fussy cut flowers.In 1980, Peto was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame, in Marion Indiana."

Do you have a story or project to share? We are working on a "Mary Jo Cloth Quilter's" article, send us your beautiful work, you could be featured on the blog or the community page.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fabrics With A Colorful Past...

Lancaster County, Sturbridge Village, Charleston and York County. These historic places evoke a sense of time and place and are also the names of a few of our many "Historical Collection" of fabric. Folks have been buying these patterns since the 1800's. Today they are used mostly for Quilting and Costuming. These patterns are also used in Home and Design projects. Think of how nice it would feel to wake up under a beautiful quilt pieced together with patterns and colors that have been used for over two centuries. The colors were rich and drawn from nature. From Colonial times through the Civil War Era, bright Indigo's, Red's, Emerald Greens and Rich Butternuts were all the rage. We often think of fabrics from this era as muted, but research shows that the fabrics and paint faded from bright to muted over time. So whether you like the "faded glory" look or the bright and original palette of colors you will not be disappointed.

We also have a large collection of fabrics from the 1930's. This is a happy, fun and cheerful collection filled to full with fanciful characters, prints and even some stripes. The 1930's depression was anything but happy, however designers have always helped to buoy the spirits of the people especially in the worst of times! Ducks, Scottie Dogs, Kitties and Bunnies all in Greens, Red's, Pinks,and sunny Yellows and Oranges. These make fun Kid's Clothes, Retro Curtains, Tablecloth, Quilts and Bags.
We have the full collection at the store and many are for sale online. To find these Fabrics, go to, on the front page click on the "Quilting" link. On the next page, click "Continue to Search", Now check "Browse by subcategory>Fabrics", click on "Proceed to next step", (Whew you are almost there...) Now you have lots of choices, the collections we are featuring today are Civil War Reproductions By Andover and Civil War Reproductions by Marcus Brothers also 1930's Reproductions. You may also view the slideshow which showcases many of these beauties. Click on the arrow below.